18.01.2016 10:30 - in: Serie A S

      #UdineseJuve in numbers

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      From the figures of a breathtaking first half to landmarks for Paulo Dybala, Alex Sandro and Gianluigi Buffon. Not to mention a tenth consecutive league win…

      If there is one thing that has characterised Juventus’ season so far, it is that it has hardly been short of surprises. That said, the Bianconeri scoring four times in 27 first-half minutes at the Dacia Arena Friuli was proof that in their current form, Massimiliano Allegri’s men are capable of anything.

      In a manic opening 45 in north-east Italy, the champions were at their menacing and clinical best, their four goals, courtesy of Paulo Dybala (two), Sami Khedira and Alex Sandro, coming from just six shots on target.

      Before yesterday’s pyrotechnics, the Bianconeri had not found the net more than three times before the break since November 2014’s 7-0 thrashing of Parma, nor four since 2012 against Pescara.

      As for the day’s key statistic, the Old Lady’s tenth consecutive league victory, their sixth on the road, matched the feat of Antonio Conte’s 2014 vintage that would eventually end its run at 12 back-to-back Serie A wins a few weeks later.

      After a barnstorming opening from the home side, it was the visitors that would ultimately settle into and then take control of the game with all of the afternoon’s big data ending in their favour (as shown by the dropdown menus below). 


      Naturally, the man to kickstart their stranglehold on proceedings was Dybala whose pair of set pieces yielded his 10th and 11th strikes of the campaign.

      Yet Paulo’s importance to the side so far since arriving from Palermo last summer has been far from limited to his own personal finishing touches in and around the penalty area. 

      In fact, the Argentine’s additional assists for Khedira and Alex Sandro at the Friuli saw him join Fabio Quagliarella (vs. Pescara ), Carlos Tevez (vs. Sassuolo) and Alessandro Del Piero (vs. Atalanta) in contributing to four Bianconeri goals in a single game, becoming the first player to achieve such a feat in Serie A this season.


      Yet to recount Dybala’s frontline efforts would only tell half the story.

      Putting in the hard yards and defensive contributions to allow La Joya to shine was strike partner Mario Mandzukic, whose perfection in the air, winning 100% of his aerial duels, and three chances created were the proof of an excellent afternoon’s work for the target man.

      After all, it was the Croatian’s guile and intelligent movement that won his side a penalty - and eventual dismissal of Udinese’s Danilo - an incident that would ultimately put the game beyond the reach of the home side. 


      There was an equally satisfying showing for fellow former Bundesliga star Khedira whose stooping close-range header saw the big German take his tally for the campaign to three strikes in 10 appearances.

      As far as the numbers are concerned, yesterday’s was perhaps Sami’s finest performance in a Juventus shirt: besides his goal, the midfielder sent two shots on target, attempted a match-high 44 passes in Udinese territory at an accuracy of 93.2 per cent while successfully completing all of his forward dribbles. 


      Perhaps the most satisfying aspect for Juve fans to arise from Sunday’s triumph was their side’s stunning fourth goal, scored by Alex Sandro, his first in Italy since joining from Porto in the summer.

      As shown by the graphic below, the proximity of the Brazilian (12) to Kwadwo Asamoah (22) throughout the game constantly gave the Bianconeri a numerical advantage down their left flank, and it was the Ghanaian’s shrewd movement off the ball that opened the space for his colleague to cut inside and curl into Orestis Karnezis’ far corner.

      Alex Sandro would end the encounter with three crosses, as many interceptions and two tackles to his name, demonstrating once again that the wing-back is just as strong going backwards as he is going forwards.

      BUFFON, 250 NOT OUT

      Despite enjoying one of the more straightforward afternoons of his career, a diving stop from Francesco Lodi’s pinpoint free-kick aside, it is only right that the final word goes to Gianluigi Buffon.

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